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I asked Tracy Franklin...

(originally published 25th October 2015)

I thought it might be nice to share some experiences and insights from my talented colleagues with you now and then! I've been very lucky indeed to meet and work with a great number of really wonderful people over the years, and I'm always thrilled to see their work, their stories and their successes.

Wonderful RSN Tutors!

Front Row L-R: Liz Elvin, Owen Davies, Me, Lizzy Lansberry

Back Row L-R: Jess Aldred, Jen Goodwin, Kate Cross,

Helen McCook, Anne Butcher, Helen Stevens, Lisa Bilby,

Shelley Cox, Heather Lewis


Tracy Franklin was the Apprenticeship Co-ordinator just before I joined, so I didn't have any time with her whilst I was training, but she was always a figure of interest to me, being the graduate that had 'made it' in her own business, doing what she loved and earning a living in the process.

Tracy working her beautiful logo - I tried to find

a picture of Tracy herself - but she's camera-shy!


Since I graduated in 2005, I've met up with Tracy on a number of occasions, and have come to appreciate her talent, her incredible dedication to her TWO business ventures (Tracy Franklin Embroidery and Stitch Business with her friend Julia Triston), and always, her quiet, dry humour in the face of my overwhelming battiness! :)

Tracy's sign outside her Fowler's Yard, Durham Studio


So I asked Tracy: "What do you think stitching can offer that is different from other pursuits such as knitting, quilting or felting?" I could have asked her what her favourite form of embroidery was, or what she found most difficult in embroidery, or how she got into it in the first place, but I thought I'd wing her a question she may not have considered before - and I was right! Tracy replied that this was 'and interesting question - [I had] never really thought this way before'.


Like most stitchers, Tracy has 'dabbled' with different fibre arts in the past but for her, it is the decorative qualities of the item that is most interesting, rather than a functional one. 'With knitting and felting especially, it is more about constructing, whereas with embroidery and stitching, it is enhancing, embellishing cloth.' Stitching '...offers more techniques, and variety of style, than perhaps the [other crafts] do'. Whilst knitting (and crochet) can be done with a variety of fibres, with embroidery there are in fact several different forms - freestyle stitching is the kind most people know, but there is also gold work, stumpwork, blackwork, canvas work, and whitework (a term which covers a multitude of techniques within it including Broder Anglaise and Mountmellick). These are just the traditional English forms of embroidery, and does not include the many forms that are popular in other countries (for example, the beautiful Japanese embroidery that is so popular today).

Tracy and Julia run an award-winning City & Guilds centre,

for classes and distance learning.


Aside from the variety, Tracy likes to mix techniques together, such as goldwork and freestyle, as well as styles - traditional methods lend themselves to modern interpretation very well. There may even be a way to combine knitting and raised embroidery! She '...can see the appeal, especially knitting. It also can be more intricate, delicate, detailed and perhaps fine knitting like needlelace can be added in, and some quilting too.' Tracy mentioned that she is interested in combining these ideas into an 18th century design, adding little knitted and quilted slips in traditional colours, but in a contemporary setting. Quilting, including trapunto and Italian techniques, are covered on Stitchbusiness' City & Guilds embroidery programme, and students are encouraged to push boundaries in their work.


I asked Tracy if she does any knitting or quilting nowadays - alas no! She's extremely busy with her RSN and City & Guilds programmes, and as Head Broderer for Durham Cathedral, she is highly involved in their future plans. It was great to catch up with her!


What would you like to ask and to whom?


Love 'n Hugs,

Kelley


p.s… if you liked this post, you might like this!

p.p.s... you can see more of Tracy's work by clicking here, and learn about Durham Cathedral by clicking here.

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